3 Ways Great Leaders Are Mentoring Employees In-Person and Remotely
In a constantly shifting work environment, what does leadership look like these days?
Now more than ever, leaders have the challenge of wearing many different hats for their workforce, regardless if they’re in-person or entirely remote. Here are three areas leaders are mentoring employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation: 1) professional growth & emotional connection 2) personal stability & long-term planning 3) building connections in the workplace.
Professional Growth & Emotional Connection
One major workplace trend in 2022 is that hybrid and remote employee turnover will continue to rise as these types of employees have access to thousands of other remote opportunities and have less of a personal connection with their coworkers. To cater to these employees, leaders can build small pockets throughout the workday to hone professional skills and create genuine relationships.
- In-Person: Facilitate partnership programs between all employees. By implementing a buddy system, employees can begin building connections in the workplace and identify areas for growth in a non-intimidating setting. Leaders can give these pairs weekly, open-ended prompts as points of discussion so conversations don’t get stagnant.
- Remote: Schedule weekly or biweekly video calls while mentoring employees, so they can discuss a working resume directly with you. Not only is this a great way to set intentional goals, but it also gives employees time to document their progress to look back at when they feel discouraged. To combat the well-known awkwardness of video calls, be prepared with icebreakers to start the conversation and have a good way of ending the meeting such as scheduling meetings back to back to create a natural close. It’s also important to identify which one of the four styles of communication is preferred by you and your employees to ensure that everyone feels heard and understood.
- Hybrid: Encourage team or department shoutouts. Here, employees can recognize the soft skills or technical competencies their coworkers are improving on while participating in peer to peer recognition. On one team I led, we started team meetings with “Diamond Drops,” sharing positives we had noticed among teammates during the week. Encourage remote employees to have a synchronized live feed so they can participate by leaving their comments.
Personal Stability & Long-Term Planning
Another key theme for 2022 is that the ongoing pandemic is changing the way people spend, save and allocate their money. For example, one in five Americans are saving less for retirement because of the pandemic. Additionally, three in ten adults worry every day or almost every day about the debt they’ve acquired. Leaders can give employees access to informational and educational resources so they can be more equipped to handle these challenges with less negative impact on work.
- In-Person: Offer local, professional help. If you personally use an accountant, insurance agent or debt counselor, share their contact information with your team. Or, maybe your employees are unsure if they need help from a professional. Give them material to make that determination for themselves, such as an online list of topics that a financial planner can help with, how to access social security benefits or how to develop college funding strategies for their children. You can even invite these professionals into the office during lunch hours for employees to ask personalized questions.
- Remote: Provide free, online resources that they can use in lieu of in-person experts about topics like retirement or debt. For example, offer online retirement calculators, or resources about how a home equity loan can help them pay off any high-interest credit card debt they may have accumulated during the pandemic.
- Hybrid: Make e-learning personal finance courses available with dedicated in-person discussion time. Not only will employees be motivated to finish the material alongside their coworkers and increase their general knowledge on a healthy financial literacy vocabulary, but they’ll have an environment to pose questions to a larger group.
Authenticity & Belonging
A third insight important in the modern workplace is that one of the top reasons why people are leaving their jobs has to do with trouble building connections in the workplace. This is especially true for employees who are a part of historically marginalized groups. Not only do employees want relationships, but they want authentic, genuine and sincere connections. To overcome this, create safe spaces for everyone to have time to reflect on themselves and hold honest conversations.
- In-Person: Come up with activities to do together as a team like metta meditation to increase your understanding, compassion and empathy. This can be as simple as taking 5 minutes every day to recite positive phrases about yourself and one another. This technique is also useful to introverts in the office.
- Remote: Offer curated online lesson plans of helpful tools that your employees can complete on their own time. By compiling one yourself, you can specifically focus on the weak points of your team or company. In this, you can include TED Talks or recorded presentations. Or, you can include work-through material like templates for compassionate inclusion, or this e-course on Compassionate Conflict.
- Hybrid: Use social media to try building connections in the workplace when employees cannot be in-person. Hold live Q&A sessions over Instagram for employees to ask one another questions. Or, create featured Instagram highlight reels where employees can share their own experiences and background.
While it’s important for leaders for leaders to focus on caring and mentoring employees during this time, it’s also crucial for leaders to care for themselves. By taking on too much and avoiding self-care, burnout or empathy fatigue is inevitable. Don’t be afraid to outsource help to improve your team and begin mentoring employees. Leave a comment below about how you’re mentoring employees in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic!
Are procrastinating employees hurting your workplace efficiency? Read my blog to learn about the six types of procrastinators and how to lead with compassion!